He had a brother named James and together they are known as the sons of Thunder. There is some speculation that he may have been a cousin of Jesus but that can not be confirmed. His father's name was Zebedee and his mother's name was Salome. John, James, Zebedee, Andrew and Peter were all co-workers in the same fishing area (Luke 5:10, Mark 1:20). And since it says they had hired help apparently their work was prosperous. Later on his life though he may have stayed in the city of Jerusalem due to the fact that he was charged by Jesus to look after his mother (John 19:25-27). He replaced Jesus in the family. His brother James was the first of the Apostles to die of martyrdom around 42 AD. Peter was arrested around the same time. These two events meant John would have to watch Mary all by himself.
- 9:38, "Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."
- 10:35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask."
- 36 "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.
- 37 They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."
- 38 "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"
- 39 "We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with,
- 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared."
- 41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.
These bold statements show how much ego he had. To actually ask the Christ to be able to take such an important chair in heaven shows a lot of chutzpah to say the least. Not many other quotes from John or other major stories about him are recorded. He has a few appearances in Acts but all of them are with Peter. After the 8th chapter of Acts we do not hear about him ever again by any other writer except once by Paul in Galatians. This date was probably around 35 AD.
His Life Changing Experience:
When Jesus took three people with Him to a high mountain, He chose Peter, James and John; a loud mouth and two sons of thunder. When they got to the top of the mountain Jesus' appearance changed right before their eyes. Jesus was met in the air with Elijah and Moses. They all three were terrified and fell down before Him. Jesus told them not to be afraid and NOT TO TELL ANYONE. Again He took with him a loud mouth and two sons of thunder (noise makers) and told them not to tell anyone. How hard it must have been for these three to keep their mouth shut. From here on out until the Resurrection John is mentioned more and he picks up a nickname: the Disciple whom Jesus loved.
Now of course this next part of the story will be a little fabricated because no one knows exactly what John went through in his last few years but the implications were fabulous. Most scholars would say that John was last of the Apostles to die. Most would say that he died an old man around 90. Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. John went on to Ephesus to live and where tradition says he would die after his imprisonment. Scripture says he was on the island of Patmos, a prison, when he got his Revelation and his Gospel visions to write. But consider this: most people think that since John lived the longest and died of natural causes that God must have loved him more than the rest. Now it does say that he was the disciple whom Jesus loved. But John lived until he was at least 90...in prison, with hard labor, alone. All the other Apostles that he knew had died long ago. Not only died but got to die for Jesus' name. He had no one left to help him. One can envisioned him crying out to God, "why can't I die for you?", "why am I left here alone?". Where was John's glory? He took care of Mary for Jesus. He was the closest to Jesus. All the others got to travel and spread the news, dying for the greatest cause of mankind. But John? He died alone. No glory in this life. No doubt Jesus loved John the most. No doubt he left John here not to receive glory upon the earth but maybe John did get that seat next to Christ like he asked for. John's glory was not here on earth. His was to be one of the greatest in heaven. All because he was the most faithful companion out of all them (John 19:25-27). John was a man revolutionized by God's love.